Election eccentrics: Candidates who keep coming back - Hindustan Times
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Election eccentrics: Candidates who keep coming back

By, Prayagraj
Apr 22, 2024 08:06 AM IST

Perennial 'Dharti Pakad' candidates in UP lose deposits in elections, with 80% failing to secure votes. ECI data shows trend persists post-Independence.

The poll battleground each time has some tenacious independent candidates who resort to unique ways to emerge winners. They, however, end up as the ones who are always in the fight but never actually in the race.

 (Pic for representation)
(Pic for representation)

They are not alone in losing polls in big way as Election Commision’s data shows the trend that 80% of the candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh over the years end up losing even their deposits.

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Such perennial candidates across the country are often dubbed as ‘Dharti Pakad’, a term associated with late Kaka Joginder Singh aka Dharti Pakad of Bareilly who during his lifetime contested 300 polls unsuccessfully.

Like him, in UP even now there is Hansuram Ambedkari, 78, from Kheragarh, Agra who has contested and lost 98 polls right from that of Gram Pradhan, Gram panchayat, UP Legislative Assembly to Lok Sabha. Another such person is Vinod Kumar Yadav of Chandauli who since 2005 has contested and lost polls right from Gram Pradhan, District Panchayat, Block Development Council to UP Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha.

No different is the story of Chhedu of Kaushambi district who is in his fifties and has contested 11 elections including Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha during the last 24 years winning just once on the post of a BDC member in 2002. This door-to-door utensil seller from Taibapur village of Sirathu tehsil in Kaushambi is now preparing to contest Lok Sabha elections-2024 knowing well that he would lose his deposit this time too.

The average of such candidates could be eight out of 10 who end up losing their deposits in every poll held in UP post-Independence, shows the ECI data.

A large number of those who lose their security deposit are independent candidates, though these also include many national, state-level and registered unrecognised party candidates.

Security deposit is required to be deposited by the candidates during nomination. This amount is deposited in the government treasury through treasury challans. According to the norms of the Election Commission, the security deposit is confiscated only from those candidates who fail to get more than even one-sixth of the total valid votes cast in the election.

Records show that in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a total of 979 candidates including 195 from national parties, 40 from state level parties, 480 from registered unrecognised parties and 264 independents, were in the fray for 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar PRadesh. Of these, 819 (83.65%) candidates lost their deposits and among them 76 were from national parties, one was from a state-level party, 478 from registered unrecognised parties and all 262 were independent candidates.

The situation was more or less similar in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections also. In this election, a total of 1,288 candidates, including 239 from national parties, 86 from state level parties, 590 from registered unrecognized parties and 373 independents were in the fray for the 80 Lok Sabha seats of the state.

Of these, the deposits of 1,087 (84.39%) candidates were lost. Among the 1,087 candidates who lost their deposits, 101 were from national parties, 27 from state level parties while maximum 586 candidates from registered unrecognised parties had their deposits confiscated.

Deposits of 373 independent candidates who contested the elections were also confiscated.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the security deposit of 1,155 out of 1,368 candidates ie 84.42% was confiscated while in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, 907 out of 1,138 candidates ie 79.70% percent lost their deposits.

86 percent across the country had lost their deposits.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, a total of 8054 candidates contested from 543 parliamentary seats across the country out of which the deposits of 6,923 were forfeited, which was 85.95% of the total candidates. Of the total 8,054 candidates, 1,454 were from national parties, out of which the deposits of 6,70 were forfeited. Likewise, 50 out of 347 candidates of state level parties and 2,754 out of 2,792 candidates of registered unrecognised parties were not able to save their security deposits. The deposits of 3,449 candidates out of 3,461 who contested the elections as independents were also forfeited.

Highest in 1996, lowest in 1957

Of the 17 general elections held between 1952 and 2019, the 1996 election saw the maximum deposits of 93% of the candidates being forfeited in UP. In this election, a total of 3,297 candidates were in the fray from 80 seats of UP out of which the deposits of 3,062 were forfeited. At the same time, in 1957, the deposits of least, around 30.13% of the candidates were confiscated.

There were a total of 292 candidates in that election and the deposits of 88 were forfeited.

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